By Nicole Glowaski and Jerrica Hebditch
Our service learning project is about the supports at the ashram and how they all help to build resiliency in the children. Resilience is defined as an individual’s ability to successfully cope with adversity. Adversity and stress can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial worries, among others. Adverse childhood experiences are when children go through stressful or traumatic situations which can affect their well-being and can lead to negative outcomes later in life, unless you have the support systems in place that help build resiliency.
Dr. Michael Ungar from Dalhousie University is one of the leading writers and researchers on the topic of resilience and we based our project on his work on resiliency. He has helped to identify the most important factors that influence the resilience of children during periods of transition and stress. So basically, you can actually build resiliency into humans. We wanted to acknowledge that these elements were created from a western Eurocentric perspective so we thought it would be interesting to look at these elements in a different cultural context. Our project was made with our discipline of social work in mind and also for anyone who is interested in child development. As previously mentioned, we talk a lot about building resiliency in children at an early age to help negate adverse experiences. What we’ve taken away from this project is that the supports to build resiliency can look different among different cultures, but the basic elements are the same. We believe that our project shows that the Ashram has all of the supports that Dr. Ungar states that you need in his 9 key elements to build resiliency and invite you to consider resiliency in the projects that follow.